Metro and Loblaw ending pandemic pay for workers

Two Canadian grocery chains will stop paying its workers wage premiums on Saturday.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Metro Inc. have been paying front-line employees an additional $2 per hour since mid-March.

Loblaw says it will pay a total of $25 million in one-time bonuses to employees, based on their average hours worked over the last 14 weeks.

Meanwhile, Metro says it will pay an additional one-time bonus of $200 to each of its full-time employees and $100 to each of its part-time workers.

The move has Unifor, the union representing some of these workers, speaking out.

“The pandemic is not over. These workers are no less at risk and are no less essential today than they were yesterday,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a statement.

The union is trying to make the pay increase permanent.

“Retail workers have always been essential, and they have always deserved much better. The fact is, the pandemic did not make these workers essential and did not create the inequities in retail, it simply exposed them,” said Dias.

Both grocery chains have seen soaring profits as people stocked up on goods at the start of the pandemic.